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Beguilement (The Sharing Knife, Book 1) by…
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Beguilement (The Sharing Knife, Book 1) (original 2006; edition 2007)

by Lois Mcmaster Bujold

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1,670584,295 (3.74)77
Member:EricZawadzki
Title:Beguilement (The Sharing Knife, Book 1)
Authors:Lois Mcmaster Bujold
Info:Harper Voyager (2007), Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:**
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The Sharing Knife: Beguilement by Lois McMaster Bujold (2006)

  1. 00
    Archangel by Sharon Shinn (hoddybook)
  2. 11
    Warlord by Elizabeth Vaughan (flemmily)
    flemmily: The Sharing Knife series and the Chronicles of the Warlands series have very similarly treated romances, and both feature unusual urban women who become entrenched in non-urban cultures. The Sharing Knife has more elements of fantasy/magic and is a little more weighty, but both series are very enjoyable.… (more)
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ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

After reading Lois McMaster Bujold's first Chalion book, I was an instant fan. So, I was really excited to get my hands on the audio versions of the first two novels in her second fantasy series: The Sharing Knife.

Alas, it really pains me to have to write a lackluster review for anything Bujold does, but here we go.

First, let me say that Beguilement is a romance novel, as clearly stated by Bujold herself on her website. In short, Fawn is not respected by her family. She is teased and called "stupid" by her parents and big brothers. She has gotten herself in some trouble, so she runs away from home. She manages to get herself in some more trouble when she meets the minions of a "malice," a creature which sucks the life out of nearby living objects and can only be killed by sharing knives which are made of human bones and are primed by a human's death (someone has to give their life to the knife). Fortunately, Dag comes along with his knives and saves Fawn's life a couple of times. Because of an unexpected occurrence with the knives, Fawn and Dag find themselves traveling together. During that time Dag realizes that even though Fawn is extremely naive, she's actually very bright. And a relationship develops....

Second, let me mention that I really disliked the voice of the audiobook reader, Bernadette Dunn. I have heard her before (Memoirs of a Geisha) and I liked her then, but that was a novel about a Geisha. Her voice doesn't work for Beguilement. It's too feminine, so the parts of the novel that were written with the male point of view (Dag) make him sound wimpy and weak. The voice she used for the female (Fawn) was too naive-sounding, hickish, syrupy, whiny, and often downright cloying.

Two strikes already, but Bujold clearly warns me that it's a romance, and she can't control the voice of the audiobook reader, so I won't fault her for those issues. And, as usual, Bujold's writing is superb. Her characters are well realized (she's very good at letting us view their inner thoughts) and dialogue is realistic.

Here are my main problems with Beguilement:

1. Fawn is unbelievably naive and has low self-esteem. This does not make for a fun or admirable heroine. Her family tells her she's stupid, so she thinks she's stupid. She whines and uses the word "stupid" a lot. I'm guessing that Bujold is trying to impart the lesson that when parents tell kids they are stupid, the kids end up with low self-esteem. Hey, I'm a psychologist, and I'm in total agreement with Ms Bujold's philosophy, but it was getting to the point where I was wondering if Richard Rahl (Terry Goodkind Sword of Truth) was going to show up and start lecturing about Fawn's nobility of spirit.

2. Dag, while likeable, is MUCH older than Fawn. I mean like decades. It'd be like Jordin Sparks with Phil Collins. That's a little creepy.

3. The magic system is really interesting (as Bujold's magic always is). The malices are fascinating, but after the first encounter with one early in the plot, we are treated to no more of these interactions. The rest of the book is slowly pushed along by dialogue, romance, and wedding preparations rather than action.

For someone looking for a chatty romance, I'm sure Bujold is way better than most everything on the romance shelves. But for someone who is expecting the greatness of Chalion, sadly, this isn't it. However, I do wonder if now that we've got the romance out of the way, might she return to the problem of the malices in book two? Now that Fawn and Dag are together, might Fawn have more self-confidence and be a more interesting heroine? Just in case, I think I'll try Legacy. I wouldn't want to miss any excellent Bujold fantasy.

Read more Lois McMaster Bujold reviews at Fantasy Literature ( )
  Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
I am very disappointed in this book. The main character has all the hallmarks of a Mary Sue and most of the plot is that of a poor romance story. ( )
  StigE | Feb 22, 2014 |
I like it, but not as much as the Vorkosigan series. Despite sexual content that (probably) puts it into the adult category, it had the feel of a young adult novel. I didn't think to check the publication date....maybe it was an early work, before Bujold had fully developed her voice? At any rate, its not a title I'd go out of my way to recommend, but if someone asked me about it, I'd say I'd enjoyed it. ( )
  duende | Feb 6, 2014 |
I hoped for more fantasy, instead got young-romance. Perhaps Twilight fans might enjoy it. ( )
  shreelar | Jan 3, 2014 |
This is one of those books that I've owned for forever, but for one reason or another never picked up. So glad I finally got to it! It's a fantasy world filled with its own share of dangers, but the tone of the book is decidedly romantic. While I wouldn't directly compare this series to Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar books, I do think that readers of one would probably enjoy the other. The next book on my TBR is sitting at the library on the hold shelf, so in the meantime I plan on reading book two of this series. That way I can donate the pair of them to some lucky reader when I'm finished. ( )
  librarymeg | Apr 6, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lois McMaster Bujoldprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bell, JulieCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dunne, BernadetteNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Fawn came to the well-house a little before noon.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061139076, Mass Market Paperback)

An epic fantasy of devotion, destiny, and perilous magic, from one of the most honored writers in the field— multiple Hugo Award-winning author Lois McMaster Bujold

Troubled young Fawn Bluefield seeks a life beyond her family’s farm. But on the way to the city, she encounters a patrol of Lakewalkers, nomadic soldier-sorcerers from the northern woodlands. Feared necromancers armed with mysterious knives made of human bone, they wage a secret on-going war against the scourge of the “malices,” immortal entities that draw the life out of their victims, enslaving human and animal alike. It is Dag—a Lakewalker patroller weighed down by past sorrows and present responsibilities—who must come to Fawn’s aid when she is taken captive by a malice. They prevail at a devastating cost—unexpectedly binding their fates together as they embark upon a remarkable journey into danger and delight, prejudice and partnership . . . and perhaps even love.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:32:28 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"Young Fawn Bluefield has fled her family's farm hoping to find work in the city of Glassforge. Uncertain about her future and the troubles she carries, Fawn stops for a drink of water at a roadside inn, where she encounters a patrol of Lakewalkers, enigmatic soldier-sorcerers from the woodland culture to the north. Fawn knows the stories about the Lake-walkers: they are necromancers; they practice black sorcery; they have no permanent homes and own only the clothes they wear and the weapons - mysterious knives made of human bone - they carry. What she does not know is that the Lakewalkers, as a whole, are engaged in a perilous campaign against inhuman and immortal magical entities known as "malices, " creatures that suck the life out of all they encounter, and turn men and animals into their minions." "Dag is an older Lakewalker patroller who carries his past sorrows as heavily as his present responsibilities. When Fawn is kidnapped by the malice Dag's patrol is tracking, Dag races to rescue her. But in the ensuing struggle, it is not Dag but Fawn who kills the creature - at dire cost - and an uncanny accident befalls Dag's sharing knife, which unexpectedly binds their two fates together. And so now the misenchanted knife must be returned to the Lakewalkers. Together, Fawn and Dag set out on the long road back to his camp. But on the journey this unlikely pair will encounter danger and delight, prejudice and partnership, and maybe even love."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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